Making black skin lighter

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greenmorpher
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Making black skin lighter

Post by greenmorpher » Mon 28 Jan 2008 02:25

Hello all

I have a picture which includes some very dark skinned Aboriginal people. I should have exposed for the shadows/dark but I didn’t (I've actually written tutorials on this -- forgot myself in a rush of emotion; the grave is that of a friend of mine who had a very troubled life), and even then, I under exposed.

So the photo is a disaster.

I need help -- can anyone tell me how to get some detail into the dark skin.

Cheers, Geoff

Geoffrey Heard, Business Writer & Publisher

"Type & Layout: Are you communicating or just making pretty shapes" -- Revealed! The secrets of how you can use type and layout to turbocharge your messages in print. See the book at http://www.worsleypress.com
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lutz
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Re: Making black skin lighter

Post by lutz » Mon 28 Jan 2008 04:08

Hello Geoff,

I really hope that you have some slightly better exposed pictures among your shots.
Your sample is of course very small and has already lots of JPG artifacts.
My suggestions would be a curves adjustment lifting the darker third of the histogram ( about 5-10%) and a bit of the middle . Then duplicating the adjusted layer and setting it to screen mode ( in really bad cases bad cases you can do this twice). Most likely it will be necessary to add a Layer Mask ( fill it with solid black and then paint with a soft white brush ove the faces you want to have lightened; in case of a mistake paint over it again on the mask layer with a black brush; you can adjust the strength of the effect then with the layer opacity of the Screen Mode layer).

The provided example seems pretty impossible, because of the drastic JPG artifacts that are tormenting the faces. I am pretty sure you will do much better with a bigger image.
lighten2.jpg
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Re: Making black skin lighter

Post by greenmorpher » Mon 28 Jan 2008 07:50

Many thanks for your thoughts, lutz. Inspired by them, I tried running the Action "Brighten Shadows" which adds a mask and whatnot, then painting in some white on the black faces in that mask. I also painted in a fairly light gray on the (nearly!) white person -- my daughter, the Childe Jessica -- to lighten her a bit but not too much. Then I "Reduce to Background Layer" and edged up the brightness a few percentage points and the contrast a few percentage points.

The result looks pretty good for me. The bloke with the beard is never going to give me much because of the cap shading the upper half of his face and the beard concvealing the lower half, although he will be there a little in a print, I think -- but the two women now have faces!

I also sharpened a bit at some point -- can't remember when.

Cheers, Geoff

Geoffrey Heard, Business Writer & Publisher

"Type & Layout: Are you communicating or just making pretty shapes" -- Revealed! The secrets of how you can use type and layout to turbocharge your messages in print. See the book at http://www.worsleypress.com

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Re: Making black skin lighter

Post by greenmorpher » Mon 28 Jan 2008 07:52

Ah, yes, and forgot to add my improved picture.

Cheers, geoff
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Re: Making black skin lighter

Post by greenmorpher » Mon 28 Jan 2008 08:23

Incidentally, I also tried the Light/Shadow filter (Menu Bar | Filter | Digital Camera | Light/Shadow. When I made adjustments and looked at "Proof", they looked good; but when I ckoised the dialog I got much more drmaatica changes with some areas drastically lightened, e.g. the leaves, where they had not been nearly so drastically lightened in "Proof" mode.

Cheers, geoff

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Re: Making black skin lighter

Post by lutz » Mon 28 Jan 2008 08:23

Hello Geoff,

that looks obviously a lot better. I would suggest to give the Screen blend mode a try nevertheless (only for the faces and the skin), as it can have a stronger effect than the Overlay mode used by the action.

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Re: Making black skin lighter

Post by Martin Huber » Mon 28 Jan 2008 10:28

greenmorpher wrote:Hello all

I have a picture which includes some very dark skinned Aboriginal people. I should have exposed for the shadows/dark but I didn’t (I've actually written tutorials on this -- forgot myself in a rush of emotion; the grave is that of a friend of mine who had a very troubled life), and even then, I under exposed.

So the photo is a disaster.

I need help -- can anyone tell me how to get some detail into the dark skin.
In this special situation (large image, thats basically OK, and 3 small areas, that are to dark), I would:
- use "Filter/Digital Camera/Image Optimize" to fix the basic brightness of the image
- select the faces, that you want to make brighter, with the Automask-Tool (a tolerance of 25% gave me good results)
- soften the edge of the selection (with this small image 5 was a good value)
- increase the brightness by using "Tool/Histogram Correction" (RGB-mode, either reducing "Limit Bright" or increasing Gamma).

Martin

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Re: Making black skin lighter

Post by greenmorpher » Mon 28 Jan 2008 13:05

Aha, Martin, very cunning!

You left out a vital step, though -- once the selections are made, there is a need to go to the gear wheel at the bottom of the layers palette and go "Convert selection to layer".

THEN start work with the Menu Bar | Tool | Histogram Correction.

But it woprked like a charm.

I also tried that in Canvas X, but found the magic wand tool (the Automask tool) didn’t work nearly as well as PhotoLine's tool. Also, of course, Canvas lacked the Image Optimize tool to start off with.

My image improved by this method is attached. Many thanks for your help, Martin and Lutz.

Cheers, Geoff

Geoffrey Heard, Business Writer & Publisher

"Type & Layout: Are you communicating or just making pretty shapes" -- Revealed! The secrets of how you can use type and layout to turbocharge your messages in print. See the book at http://www.worsleypress.com
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Re: Making black skin lighter

Post by greenmorpher » Mon 28 Jan 2008 13:07

PS -- I should add that I deliberately made this one lighter than desired to emphasise the change. I have the file saved as PL32, of course, so I can alter the brightnesses any time I like.

Cheers, geoff

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Re: Making black skin lighter

Post by greenmorpher » Fri 01 Feb 2008 04:59

This is the "final final" folks. I wanted to work through a process using PL32 of using three layers proposed by two master workers from the Canvas forum -- yet another way to achieve my goal.

This is what I did:

Original image: I had lightened this a little in iPhoto (which I did not do with the original image I posted). This is neither here nor In this image, I wanted to get the skin tones right. there -- I probably shouldn't have done it since it lightened the sky too much but in the event, I could adjust this back. I duplicated it twice in the Layers palette to get two images and the background image.

Background image first:

In this image, I wanted to get the skin tones right.

I selected the image in the Layers palette and clicked off visibility of the two other images.

I ran the "Brighten Shadows" then adjusted the Curves (slight raising of curve in the middle, mostly) to give me the skin tone I wanted in the lady second from left. I used the mask generated by the action to lighten the skin areas of the face, but not the beard, of the bloke. This was just a touch -- a hairy brush, white, at 25%. I also darkened the skin of The Childe Jessica. Also just a touch -- black at 15%. Her skin is, in fact, olive.

I also noted that the lightening of this image improved the painted sections of the ceremonial pole, so I thought I would include those in the final image.

Middle image:

This image was to provide all the surroundings except the sky.

I selected the image in the Layers palette and clicked off visibility of the two other images.

I adjusted the Curves to make it a little darker, and raised the contrast a touch.

I opened Layer Properties and checked "Use Transparency", then selected the eraser, and at very high zoom, used various sized erasers, all fuzzy edged (double click on the brush/eraser shape to bring up the palette) and transparency at 100% to make all the skin areas and the painted areas on the ceremonial pole transparent. I wanted to retain the clothes and the black parts of the ceremonial pole at the tone in this image, so I didn’t touch them.

Top image:

This image was to provide the sky.

I selected the image in the Layers palette and clicked off visibility of the two other images.

I adjusted the Curves to make the sky quite a bit darker, so sky and clouds showed.

I opened Layer Properties and checked "Use Transparency", then selected the eraser, made it good and big, and wiped out all the area below the sky. For the final bit, where the trees poke up into the sky, I made the big eraser totally fuzzy and reduced transparency to 25%. That enabled me to make a soft boundary between the trees and the sky.

OVERALL:

I made all three layers visible. Excellent, but a little dark. I went Menu bar | Layers | Reduce to Background to turn all the layers into one, then adjust the cvurves to make it a touch lighter and also adjusted contrast just a touch.

I'm pretty satisfied with that result too. See attached.

Gawd, the stuff I am learning.

Cheers, Geoff

Geoffrey Heard, Business Writer & Publisher

"Type & Layout: Are you communicating or just making pretty shapes" -- Revealed! The secrets of how you can use type and layout to turbocharge your messages in print. See the book at http://www.worsleypress.com
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Re: Making black skin lighter

Post by lutz » Fri 01 Feb 2008 07:32

Hi Geoff,

it was worth the effort. Much improved.
(Only the sky color seems a bit odd to me?, but this might of course be perfectly correct; does it have a bit of purple in there?)

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Re: Making black skin lighter

Post by greenmorpher » Fri 01 Feb 2008 13:11

Hi Lutz

Thanks. Yes, a little purplish -- that was due to lightening it in iPhoto, then darkening it again. I should have taken a little red out of it, probably. But that's going too far!!! :?

Doing that would be kind of expert!

Cheers, Geoff

Geoffrey Heard, Business Writer & Publisher

"Type & Layout: Are you communicating or just making pretty shapes" -- Revealed! The secrets of how you can use type and layout to turbocharge your messages in print. See the book at http://www.worsleypress.com

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Re: Making black skin lighter

Post by greenmorpher » Fri 01 Feb 2008 13:24

Okay, Lutzy, you've bullied me into it. Now it is probably a bit duck egg blue, but at least it's not purple.

I'm going to bed now! 8)

Cheers, geoff
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